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Ken Borland



A simple calculation for WP: Forward might is right 0

Posted on October 28, 2017 by Ken

 

It may not be a straightforward calculation to measure the exact amount of momentum Western Province gained from their pack in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, but it was simple as anything to work out that it was the visiting forwards who played the key role in their convincing 33-21 victory.

At practically every scrum, the Sharks were going backwards, and even on the one occasion they got the shove on Western Province, it still ended in a try for the visitors as eighthman Nizaam Carr broke blind and set up fellow loose forward Cobus Wiese for the try.

Western Province were also dominant on the gain-line, meeting a Sharks pack, that has powered through most other opposition this season, head-on in a brutal battle.

Western Province flyhalf Robert du Preez was a composed general behind this juggernaut pack, while opposite number Curwin Bosch lost his cool, being exposed defensively and only succeeding with 50% of his kicks at goal.

It took a while for the Western Province ace to be reflected on the scoreboard though, with the Sharks thriving in the first half as they capitalised on soft mistakes by the visitors to run up a 21-10 lead that lasted until the final moments before the break.

The Sharks were tied down in their 22 as the final hooter went and, even though Carr was held up over the line by Garth April, a five-metre scrum resulted in concerted pressure, and eventually wing Kobus van Wyk rushed out of the defensive line, allowing opposite number Dillyn Leyds to go over in the corner.

From that point on, the Sharks were on the back foot; pushed back on the gain-line, unable to get their hands on the ball and condemned to playing in the wrong areas of the field by the tactical nous of on-song flyhalf Robert du Preez.

Wiese’s 51st-minute try brought Western Province practically back on level terms and they took the lead for the first and final time when Bosch went high on wing Seabela Senatla, who brushed him off and was able to offload to centre Huw Jones, who skipped past a few defenders on his way to the tryline.

Western Province then relied on the boot of Du Preez to close out the game and they can justifiably feel proud by how they finished the season as thoroughly convincing champions, having been underwhelming in the opening half of the competition.

No team can expect to win a final with their pack being so badly beaten, but the Sharks certainly made a good fist of it for the first 35 minutes.

Despite being shoved off the ball in the opening scrum to concede a tighthead, it all started so positively for the Sharks with centre Marius Louw slicing through the Western Province defence like a can-opener to set up Odwa Ndungane, in his 251st and last game for the Sharks, with a dream try.

But glory can turn into humiliation very quickly in finals and Jones then stepped inside an on-rushing Ndungane for Western Province’s opening try just four minutes later. The Sharks will be more disappointed that they conceded a five-metre scrum, from which the try came, through players just being in the wrong place at the wrong time at a ruck, resulting in accidental offsides.

Eighthman Daniel du Preez then muscled his way over in the 18th minute, but it would end up as a bad day for the twins as Jean-Luc had to be helped off the field moments later with an ankle injury, and Daniel would be yellow-carded late in the second half for tackling a player off the ball.

Having their most physical forward excluded from the gain-line battle certainly didn’t help the Sharks, but to be fair, Western Province were already dominating the scrums and had kept Jean-Luc in check up until his departure.

The home crowd would have hoped the phenomenal long-range drop goal Bosch fired over off a retreating scrum would mean the youngster was settling into the game, but unfortunately the pressure was inexorably transferred on to him and the Springbok hopeful did not handle it well.

The game-management of Robert du Preez was outstanding, though, and the other chief heroes for Western Province in a fine all-round display were Wilco Louw, the player of the match for the way he provided the foundation for the huge scrummaging display that laid the platform for victory; Jones, the Scotsman who brought tremendous physical presence and great feet to the midfield, and Carr, the workhorse of the team.

The Western Province front row, with Bongi Mbonambi and JC Janse van Rensburg providing powerful support to Louw, is where the victory had its starting point though.

 

Sharks were winners over Hurricanes in May to give them hope 0

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Ken

 

The Lions’ implosion will send the Sharks to New Zealand for a daunting SuperRugby quarterfinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington, but the KwaZulu-Natalians were convincing 32-15 winners over them in their league match in Durban in May.

The Hurricanes were full of confidence after putting 50 past the Lions the previous weekend at Ellis Park, but the Sharks cramped their space and fed ruthlessly off their many errors under the resulting pressure to thoroughly outplay them, giving them hope for this weekend’s rematch.

“It’s a good thing in terms of knowledge and confidence – we know how to beat them and we know that if we play well then we can beat them. But it will be a completely different kettle of fish this weekend because the Hurricanes are playing very well, I thought they were outstanding against the Crusaders, and Wellington is a very difficult place to go.

“They have some serious strengths that we have to negate first, their broken-field runners and offloads means that you have to be very good defensively and you have to play in the right areas. But we were good with ball in hand against them as well and you need to ask questions of the New Zealand sides. They have a drift defence so there are opportunities with that, and game-management is also important, you have to stick to your principles,” coach Gary Gold said on Monday.

Even though the stakes are higher this weekend, Gold said there was less pressure on his side in terms of not being distracted by getting bonus points to win their playoff race with the Bulls.

“There will be a little bit less pressure on us to score tries, to chase bonus points, which meant sometimes the team was trying to jog before they could walk. Now we’ve just got to win. We have to take our opportunities, that includes shots at goal, and build the scoreboard.

“But if you go into your shells and don’t have a go against the New Zealand sides then it can be a really bad day for you. So we have to go into the game with a positive mindset and ask questions of them,” Gold said.

 

WP Peninsula ready for the move back to A Section 0

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Ken

 

Western Province Peninsula ensured that they will move back into the hockey IPT A Section should there be promotion as they clinched the men’s B Section title in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals with a convincing 5-1 victory over KZN Mynahs in the final in Randburg on Saturday.

Peninsula went into a 2-0 lead at halftime through a penalty stroke by Reece Arendse and a field goal by Warren McEwan and, although Mynahs pulled a goal back through Kovin Moodley four minutes after the break, the WP B side made their move early in the final quarter as McEwan completed his hat-trick with two impressive field goals in two minutes.

Kyle Lottering added the finishing touches to an impressive week for Peninsula, who won the A IPT in 2014 in one of the most sensational results in SA hockey history, as he added the fifth goal three minutes from time.

North-West enjoyed a small consolation for their semifinal defeat in a shootout at the hands of the Mynahs as they won the bronze medal with a 6-3 win over Zimbabwe, dominating the second half with Francois Cilliers scoring a brace.

B Section results

Men’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 5 (Reece Arendse, Warren McEwan [3], Kyle Lottering) KZN Mynahs 1 (Kovin Moodley).

Women’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 2 (Kayde Miller, Robyn Pinder) KZN Mynahs 1 (Stacey Hiron).

Men’s B Section bronze medal: North-West 6 (Francois Cilliers [2], Killian Ludick, Mitesh Makan, Neil van Onselen, Pierre Bothma) Zimbabwe 3 (Luckson Sikisa, Edwin Tholanah, Arnold Mpofu).

Women’s B Section bronze medal: Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Michelle Mollins [2]) KZN Inland 0.

Men’s B Section: 5th-6th SA Country Districts 2 (Ryan Innes, Etienne Blatt) Northerns B 1 (Reece Mowatt); 7th-8th Eastern Gauteng 3 (Kyle Cameron, Darren Ellis, Bradley Nunn) KZN Inland 0.

Women’s B Section: 5th-6th Mpumalanga 2 (Jeanri Naude, Linze Liversage) Southern Gauteng Nuggets 1 (Jerri Dennyschen); 7th-8th SA Country Districts 5 (Robyn Morgan, Anel Beukes, Marelie Devereux  [2], Andri van Heerden) Northerns B 3 (Chanel Dippenaar, Hanlie Podd, Ane Luus).

Final placings

Men: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 North-West; 4 Zimbabwe; 5 SA Country Districts; 6 Northerns B; 7 Eastern Gauteng; 8 KZN Inland.

Women: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 Zimbabwe; 4 KZN Inland; 5 Mpumalanga; 6 Southern Gauteng Nuggets; 7 SA Country Districts; 8 Northerns B.

http://www.sahockey.co.za/tournaments/229-wp-peninsula-men-claim-b-section-crown

Marais not happy that bonus point eludes Bulls 0

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Ken

 

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said he was not happy about the bonus point which eluded his team despite their convincing 41-22 victory over the Reds at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.

The Bulls were leading 27-8 after 50 minutes, but conceded two quick tries to powerful Reds centre Samu Kerevi, and, although they finished with five tries, they ended one short of the bonus point, losing the throw at a lineout five metres from the opposition tryline after the final hooter.

“I wasn’t happy that we didn’t get the bonus point, we should have used that lineout at the end. We got back in the game after they scored an excellent try up front, but at certain stages there was too much individual play. At halftime we said we must stick to the structures and let the ball do the work, not the man. We weren’t accurate enough,” Marais said after the win, which kept them up with the leaders in the South African Group.

“But we are getting better every week. We played for seven years with the same style here and now we’re trying something different, even though it might not always look like it. Previously guys would just tuck the ball under the arm and go straight for the opposition, but guys like Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel are now moving the ball.

“It’s a game plan which the Lions are a couple of years down the line with, but we must stick to that – it’s important to see the space,” Marais said.

The Bulls now have a bye before going on tour to Australia and both Marais and captain Adriaan Strauss warned that it is not going to get any easier as they try to nail down a playoff spot.

“We are a process-driven team and we’re not where we want to be, but we’ll take a win any day. It was a good win, but we are chasing high standards, the perfect game, so we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.

“It’s definitely not going to get any easier, especially on tour. We’ll enjoy the win and the week off, but then we need to focus 100% on the Force, which will be a tough challenge,” Strauss said.

“To have our two byes so early is a challenge, I would have liked one after the tour. But now the weekend after we come back from tour, we play the Stormers here. So that’s going to be a big challenge and we need to make sure the guys are rested enough,” Marais added.



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